‹ Maneesh Madambath

Reading - Books & Essays

Aug 20, 2020

Here are the Books and Essays I am reading split year-wise. They are not recommendations but I have marked the ones I liked a lot in bold. The books are not sorted in any particular order. All books and essays are listed only after I finish reading.

Also, in almost all cases there will be an affiliate link attached to the books.

Since the last two years I have found myself leaning heavily into fiction. It strangely was a result of reading a non fiction book called the Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera. But I suspect the 2021 list might not have as much fiction.

A Newsletter for Readers

I run a weekly newsletter called Bombay Daak, where we talk about the tangents that reading opens up.

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Books & Essays


  1. Sleeping on the Wing - Kenneth Koch
  2. Atomic Habits - James Clear
  3. Moonraker - Ian Fleming
  4. Open City - Teju Cole
  5. Parker: The Hunter - Richard Stark & Darwyn Cooke
  6. Delhi Mostly Harmless - Elizabeth Chatterjee


  1. Low - Jeet Thayil
  2. Bihar is in the Eye of the Beholder - Vijay Nambisan
  3. Bread, Cement, Cactus - Annie Zaidi
  4. English - Poems by Jeet Thayil
  5. Everything Begins Elsewhere - Poems by Tishani Doshi
  6. The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
  7. The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce - I keep thinking about it, months after reading it.
  8. The Invention of Morel - Adolfo Bioy Casares
  9. Writing Badly is Easy - Amitava Kumar
  10. Amsterdam - Ian McEwan
  11. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
  12. Everyday I for the Thief - Teju Cole - I surprise myself on how much I remember of this novella.
  13. The Black dwarves of Good Little Bay
  14. Fires - Raymond Carver - Buy it just for the poetry and it is still worth every penny
  15. The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
  16. The Mystery of the Three Quarters - Sophie Hannah
  17. The Festival of Insignificance - Milan Kundera
  18. Ward no 6 and Other Stories - Anton Chekov
  19. The Books of the Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin - A balm, a magic, and that’s not just in the stories. I haven’t been transported to a world the way Le Guin did with Earthsea.
  20. These Were my Homes - Vijay Nambisan
  21. 60 Indian Poets - Edited by Jeet Thayil
  22. The Parameters of our Cage - C. Fuasto Cabrera and Alec Soth
  23. Children of Ruin - Adrian Tchaikovsky
  24. Zero to One - Peter Thiel
  25. Breath - by James Nestor
  1. On Bloom’s Two Sigma Problem
  2. Teach yourself Italian - Jhumpa Lahiri
  3. Ideas are getting hard to find
  4. How to Understand Things
  5. Optical Insights into Renaissance Arts


  1. Mr Mercedes - Stephen King
  2. Dreyer’s English - Benjamin Dreyer
  3. The Master and the Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov - a Favourite
  4. Latitudes of Longing - Shubhangi Swaroop
  5. Tales from a Vending Machine - Anees Salim
  6. The Town that Laughed - Manu Bhattatiri
  7. Steppenwolf - Hermann Hesse
  8. Ram: The Scion of Ishvaku - Amish Tripathi
  9. The Zoya Factor - Anuja Chauhan
  10. Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh
  11. The Lady and the Monk
  1. Some Notes on the Novella - Ian McEwan
  2. A New York Writer’s Take on How His City Has Changes - Pete Hamill



In 2018 I read more on the craft of writing than anything else. In the process I also bent towards European writing.

  1. The Elements of Style - William Strunk
  2. Steering the Craft - Ursula K Le Guin
  3. The Shape of Fiction - Holt
  4. The Art of the Novel
  5. The Good Solider Sjvek
  6. The Calcutta Chromosome